COBBER INK TALES
Welcome to the newest Cobber Sports Information feature. Cobber Ink Tales is meant to highlight the individuality and personality behind Concordia student/athletes. Tattoos have become a way for people to provide permanent memories, motivation and remembrances of loved ones. This feature series will attempt to show another side of Cobber student/athletes – a side that family, fans and alumni rarely get a chance to see. We hope you enjoy this new feature.
Do you know a Cobber athlete, former Cobber athlete or Concordia professor or administrator that has a meaningful tattoo and would like to share the story behind it? Please contact CobberSID at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share the story.
COBBER INK TALES: Nate Weaver
Feature written by Concordia sports information student assistant David Youngs
MOORHEAD, Minn.---If you head south on Interstate 29 for 600 miles, transition onto I-49 beneath the Mason Dixon Line and weave your way south down a few state highways you’ll find yourself in Atlanta, Texas. Nestled in the northeast corner of the Lonestar State, the town of 5,000 is run by farming and oil, and came to fruition when the Texas and Pacific Railway rolled through town in the late 1800’s.
Ellen DeGeneres and former Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson both spent time growing up the in the small town and both graduated from Atlanta High School.
Atlanta, Tex. boasts few other claims to fame and to most people it is merely a mark on a map. To Cobber men’s soccer sophomore Nate Weaver the drive-by town means everything.
Nate’s grandparents Vern and Sue Weaver call Atlanta, Texas home. It’s where Nate looked forward to going every summer during his childhood.
“They lived out of town with a bunch of fields and woods in the backyard, so I would always be outside with them,” Weaver said.
His fondest memories come from pulling bass and catfish out of the local pond with Grandpa Vern.
“Every time I’d go there, I just wanted to go fishing with him,” Weaver said.
The grandpa and grandson would head to the water at the crack of dawn and fish all day. Nate caught his first fish while at the pond with his Grandpa—a reality that many young boys could only dream of.
It’s memories like these that help Nate acknowledge what a huge impact his Grandpa has had on his life - even though the two are now over a thousand miles apart.
Weaver attended high school at Minot (N.D.) High and then Shattuck St. Mary’s (Faribault, Minn.) but much of his childhood was spent outside of the Upper Midwest because both his parents were in the Air Force.
“My parents were in the military, so I was born in Las Vegas, moved to Louisiana where my sister was born, and then lived in Biloxi, Mississippi for five years,” Weaver said.
It was those summers in Biloxi when Nate and his sister would make the 6-hour trip to Atlanta to spend time with Grandpa Vern and Grandma Sue.
Vern and Sue provided a support system for Nate and his sister, especially when their parents were called to military duties.
“My favorite thing about them was that they were always there for my sister and I, especially when my parents were deployed overseas,” Weaver said.
An Ink Idea
The dynamic of Weaver’s relationship with his Grandpa changed when he moved to Minot in 2011. He’s only been able to visit his Grandpa once since the move north because of the distance. To make the distance even harder to navigate, Vern has been struggling with Alzheimer’s and has been in the hospital the past two years with breathing and heart conditions.
Although his Grandpa’s health has been improving recently, Nate misses him, and the days spent with him down by the water fishing.
The idea, and inspiration, for his tattoo came after one of his close friends got a meaningful tattoo of his own last year. Nate then followed his heart and made the decision to get his own forever memory.
“I just thought of my Grandpa right away because he’s been through a lot the past two years,” Weaver said.
Nate’s left forearm is now inked with a finely coiled rose accompanied by six detailed leaves. Each layer of the rose, which was intricately created by Tailwind Tattoo in Fargo, is accented by different shades of black ink creating an incredible perception of depth amongst the art.
The rationale behind the design? Grandpa Vern has a nearly identical rose in the exact same spot.
“He has a rose on his left inner forearm too and I wanted to honor him,” Weaver said. “He’s been a huge role model and has taught me a lot of things in life.”
Beneath the Ink
Weaver says the tattoo represents the relationship he has with his Grandpa and the traits he has learned from him.
“(I admire) his strength and honesty. He’s a strong person who has always supported anyone who has been a part of his family. He’s always taken care of me and my sister in ways that I’ve appreciated,” Weaver said.
While the tattoo represents the unbreakable bond that Nate and Vern share it also represents the strong relationship that Nate had with Grandma Sue while growing up.
“I text my Grandma at least once a week to see how he’s (Vern) doing,” Weaver said.
Weaver admires the way his grandparents have been a role model for relationships. He particularly admires how his grandparents have accepted his stepdad into the family.
“He’s (my stepdad) been a huge part of my life. They’ve never disagreed with my mom for leaving their son and marrying again,” Weaver said. “I think that they’re happy that my stepdad has done what's best for me and my sister. That's all they could ask for.”
Always in Mind
While they aren’t physically together, Nate enjoys the opportunities he gets to spend on the phone with Grandpa Vern.
“He’s always been someone I can call and have an interesting chat with,” Weaver said. “He always has interesting stories to share with me.”
While the phone calls can bridge the distance between the two, Nate looks forward to the day when he and his Grandpa can once again spend time together.
“Obviously he’s still in my mind,” Weaver said. “When I look at it (the tattoo) I think of him and just enjoy everything that's happened in the past and everything that I’ve learned.”
That lack of physical presence doesn’t change the fact the Grandpa Vern has shaped Weaver into the person he is today.
“I cherish the memories that I have with my Grandpa and appreciate what he’s taught me. The values that I’ve learned from him and my Grandma will stay with me throughout my life.”